Recent Articles

Feb 2017

Taking Things a Little Too Literally

by in Error'd on

"Web design pro-tip: If it takes a while to load data, just put an 'Animated loading spinner' on the screen," wrote Stuart L.


Rolling for Dollars

by in Software on the Rocks on

Today, we present our second installment of Software on the Rocks, complete with new features, like an actually readable transcript done by a professional transcriber. Isn’t that amazing?

In today’s episode, Alex and Remy host a special guest, Justin Reese, founder of Code & Supply, one of the largest developer community organizations out there, with a nearly constant stream of events. In this episode, we discuss what building a community is like, when is it fair to really tear into bad code, and that time Alex made 10,000 people late for work.


Notted Up

by in CodeSOD on

There’s an old saying, that if your code is so unclear it needs comments to explain it, you should probably rewrite it. Dan found this code in a production system, which invents a bizarre inversion of that principle:

static BOOLEAN UpdateFileStoreTemplates ()
{
  BOOLEAN NotResult = FALSE;

  NotResult |= !UpdateFileStoreTemplate (DC_EMAIL_TEMPLATE); // Not-ing a fail makes it true, so if Not result is True we've had a failure
  NotResult |= !UpdateFileStoreTemplate (DC_TABLE_HEADER_TEMPLATE); // Not-ing a fail makes it true, so if Not result is True we've had a failure
  NotResult |= !UpdateFileStoreTemplate (DC_TABLE_ROW_TEMPLATE); // Not-ing a fail makes it true, so if Not result is True we've had a failure
  NotResult |= !UpdateFileStoreTemplate (DC_TABLE_FOOTER_TEMPLATE); // Not-ing a fail makes it true, so if Not result is True we've had a failure
  NotResult |= !UpdateFileStoreTemplate (WS_EMAIL_TEMPLATE); // Not-ing a fail makes it true, so if Not result is True we've had a failure
  NotResult |= !UpdateFileStoreTemplate (WS_TABLE_HEADER_TEMPLATE); // Not-ing a fail makes it true, so if Not result is True we've had a failure
  NotResult |= !UpdateFileStoreTemplate (WS_TABLE_ROW_TEMPLATE); // Not-ing a fail makes it true, so if Not result is True we've had a failure
  NotResult |= !UpdateFileStoreTemplate (WS_TABLE_FOOTER_TEMPLATE); // Not-ing a fail makes it true, so if Not result is True we've had a failure

  return !NotResult;
}

Hired: Salary Trends

by in Announcements on

You may remember our new sponsor, Hired. To help them match up talent with employers, they’ve created their own proprietary dataset about salary and hiring trends, and have published their annual report about what they’ve found.


What Bugs Beneath

by in Feature Articles on

Fly-swatter

During the interview, everything was gravy. Celestino Inc. was doing better business than ever before, and they were ready to expand their development center. They had all the keywords Gigi was looking for: Java 8, serving up a SPA for a hot new streaming product, outsourced from a company with money to burn but no developers of their own. She loved the people she'd interviewed with; they were smart people with great ideas. It'd been a long, grueling job hunt, but it'd been worth it. Gigi was eager to work with the technology, not to mention having plenty of budget and a greenfield to work with.


A Sample of Heck

by in CodeSOD on

An email from Andrea Ci arrived in our inbox, with nothing more than some code and a very simple subject line: “VB Conversion: a year in hell”.

A lot of people have that experience when encountering Visual Basic code, especially when it’s VB6, not VB.Net. Even so, could it really be that bad? Well, let’s look at the sample Andrea provided.


The Reason is False

by in Error'd on

"Thanks for the explanation because thanks for the explanation because false!" writes Paul N.


The Second Factor

by in Feature Articles on

Famed placeholder company Initech is named for its hometown, Initown. Initech recruits heavily from their hometown school, the University of Initown. UoI, like most universities, is a hidebound and bureaucratic institution, but in Initown, that’s creating a problem. Initown has recently seen a minor boom in the tech sector, and now the School of Sciences is setting IT policy for the entire university.

Derek manages the Business School’s IT support team, and thus his days are spent hand-holding MBA students through how to copy files over to a thumb drive, and babysitting professors who want to fax an email to the department chair. He’s allowed to hire student workers, but cannot fire them. He’s allowed to purchase consumables like paper and toner, but has to beg permission for capital assets like mice and keyboards. He can set direction and provide input to software purchase decisions, but he also has to continue to support the DOS version of WordPerfect because one professor writes all their papers using it.


Clean Up Your Act

by in CodeSOD on

Censored2

Artie S. writes:


Table Driven Software

by in Feature Articles on

We've all built table driven software. In your engine, you put a bunch of potential callbacks into some data structure, perhaps a map, and call the relevant one based upon some key value. Then the calling logic that uses the engine has some structure that holds the key(s) of the method(s) to be called for some context. If you change the key(s) for a given context, then the corresponding method(s) that get called change accordingly. It's neat, clean, efficient and fairly simple to implement.

At least you'd think so.


Strung Out Properties

by in CodeSOD on

Microsoft recently announced that they’re changing how they handle .NET languages. Up to this point, the focus has been on keeping them all feature compatible, but going forward, they’ll be tuning VB.Net towards beginners, C# towards professionals, and F# towards people who have to use .NET but want to “be functional”.

VB.Net’s biggest flaw is that it’s inherited all of the Visual Basic programmers. You may be able to write bad code in any language, but I’m not convinced you can write good code in VB6 or earlier. Those bad habits, like Hungarian notation, can mark out “modern” code written with a distinctly “non-modern” mindset.


Garfield Only Wants the Best for You

by in Error'd on

"I have two questions: First - Why make the dropdown go all the way down to 1908 if you don't want people selecting it? Second - Why can't I view garfield.com if I'm 101 years old?" wrote Tom.


Episode 1: Traveling Angular

by in Software on the Rocks on

Welcome to Software on the Rocks, the Daily WTF podcast. This is a new feature we’ll be running on a bi-weekly basis for a first season of a few short episodes. If folks like it, or more important, if we really like doing it, this may continue, but for now, we’re committed to season of 6 episodes.

In this episode, Alex and Remy discuss ruining the site, the dangers of booking airline tickets, and why Angular 2 is absolutely the best possible framework for those who love lots of boilerplate.


Someone Hates These Interfaces

by in Representative Line on

Let’s start with a brief lesson on .NET. .NET, like most OO languages, needs the ability to perform “cleanup” when an object finally dies. One option for this is the Finalize method, which is called when the memory is freed, but since it’s the garbage collector’s job to do that freeing, you have no idea when (or even if) that will happen.

To solve that problem, .NET has an interface, IDisposable. The I, of course, is one of the lonely last relics of the tyranny that was “Hungarian Notation”. Classes which implement this interface have a Dispose method, which should be called by an instance’s owner to trigger cleanup (or can be auto-invoked through some nice syntactic sugar).